MICA Alumni's Startup enters the Unicorn Club

*Alumnus of MICA 2003 batch, Varun Dua’s ACKO, became India’s recent unicorn after the digital insurer raised $255 million at a valuation of $1.1 billion in a fundraising round led by private equity firms General Atlantic and Multiples Private Equity.
Ahmedabad: MICA, Ahmedabad, India’s premier institute for Strategic Marketing and Communications, is pleased to share that an insurtech startup, ACKO, co-founded by MICA alumnus Mr. Varun Dua has recently become India’s unicorn after it raised $255 million at a valuation of $1.1 billion in a fundraising round led by private equity firms General Atlantic and Multiples Private Equity.
Founded by Mr. Varun Dua and Ms. Ruchi Deepak, ACKO is a digital platform for insurance products with over 70 million customers and clocking a run-rate of $150 million in premiums.
Mr. Varun Dua, who graduated from MICA in 2003, said, “I think becoming a Unicorn does not change much because it is business as usual the next day. Our strategy remains the same, and we continue to strive equally hard to win customer trust. However, Unicorn status is a validation for all the hard work. What our teams have achieved in a short period, especially with Covid-19 disrupting 33% of the total existence of ACKO, is no small feat. However, the trust that our investors and customers have shown in ACKO made it possible.”
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Dr. Shailendra Raj Mehta, President & Director, MICA, said, “Our alumni continue to make us proud with their accomplishments across diverse fields. Many of our alumni have become entrepreneurs and are increasingly creating companies having an impact. I congratulate the ACKO team with the confidence that more alumni will emulate their success in the years ahead and bring laurels to their alma matter.”
Dr. Preeti Shroff, Dean, MICA, said, “MICA alumni is a strong global community that continues to engage and inspire the students. Mr. Dua recently addressed the next generation of MICAns and reminded them of the hard work, humility and persistence in launching and expanding ACKO. He attributed the success of becoming a Unicorn company to the strong team around him, and emphasized the value of nurturing people. According to the recent news reports, India has added more Unicorns in 2021 than in all previous years combined, and is now ranked after the US and China for the most Unicorns.”
Sharing his thoughts on what changed the game for ACKO, Mr. Dua commented, “I think being a technology-first company has been the game-changer for ACKO. Being tech first helped us price our products better; we can sell cheaper as we do not have agents or middlemen and provide a better fulfillment experience. I believe that the customers are evolving, and if we are transparent, people will buy our products.
ACKO now intends to solve more significant problems for their customers. As we advance, we would like to work on getting our customers better access to the best healthcare, with no cost surprises, how to use data to predict the risk of accidents and illnesses, and how to use technology intervention to mitigate risks and many more. We will also invest in building teams to help us solve these problems.”
Sharing the role of MICA, Mr. Dua said, “The best thing about a place like MICA is the diversity of people and how it encourages healthy discussion between faculties, your peers, etc. I was lucky to have many such discussions across music, sports, brand, and whatnot with my batchmates. So MICA to me was and is a springboard.”
About MICA
Established in 1991, MICA is the first residential institute in the country and perhaps in the Asia-Pacific region, dedicated to creating Leadership in Strategic Marketing and Communication.
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Its spirit lies in its grasping of contemporariness, addressing the needs of an ever-changing environment. The MICA brand assures effective delivery of Strategic Marketing and Communication solutions to the industry, government and community.
Today, it is the alma mater of professionals serving in leadership positions in some of the best-known companies in India and the world, in marketing, brand management, research & analytics, advertising, media, digital and other strategic marketing and communication-driven businesses.
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